Guitars

The Vintage Modern Stylings of TK Smith

The Vintage Modern Stylings of TK Smith

STANDING over his circa 1912 Valley dual-wheeled buffer, with its assuming cast iron construction more akin to a ship’s anchor than any of its poten- tial modern counterparts, a wry smile creeps across the face of luthier TK Smith. He can run the venerable machine for hours on end and the motor never even gets warm. It is the epitome of the classic idiom -- the just don’t build them like that anymore. Smith and that buffer have a lot in common. He has dedicated years to the study and creation of exquisite, high-end guitars in the vein of classic guitar builder and inventor Paul Bigsby because, among other reasons, they just don’t build them like that anymore... and he’s just getting warmed up.  more...
Guitar Idol: The Steve Stevens interview

Guitar Idol: The Steve Stevens interview

IN THIS ERA of social media, where artists can communicate directly with fans via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube video diaries, guitarist Steve Stevens calls himself ‘old school.’ He speaks to the media by telephone and in person because it’s what he’s used to. “When I first started with Billy [Idol], I remember the first press junket,” he says. “We went to England, and Kerrang magazine was the first thing I did. The only way you could do things was to travel to another country. Then we went to Japan and did press, and in Japan they have you do twelve interviews a day. You couldn’t even think at the end of the day, but it makes an impression. Especially now, we have a new record coming out, so there’s something to talk about and we’re excited about it, so why not?”  more...
Collings Guitars… Made To Order

Collings Guitars… Made To Order

WE ROLLED into the Collings Guitars complex west of Austin, Texas, on Highway 290 the morning of ‘Salsa Day’. It was the day when employees would bring in their own secret recipe salsa for judging by their peers and company management and, we suppose, ultimately reign as the guitar maker’s Salsa Champion, at least for 2014. Regrettably, we were not asked to judge.  more...
EMG: The 30,000 Square Foot Garage

EMG: The 30,000 Square Foot Garage

IN AN OFFICE park down a dead-end street in Santa Rosa, California, is a 30,000 square foot garage - home and headquarters of EMG Pickups. It’s not a garage in the traditional sense of roll-down doors, automobiles and mechanics, but in the boutique mindset of how this 37-year old company operates. It was, after all, started by founder Rob Turner in his parents garage, so it stands to reason that the practices and procedures established in the mid-1970s simply expand along with the company - at least, as much as is reasonably possible.  more...
Hello Portland! A tour of gear shops in the Rose City

Hello Portland! A tour of gear shops in the Rose City

DREAMS OF THE west coast usually center on the warm and more glamorous climbs of southern California, with its miles of scenic beaches dotted with quaint, comfortable coastal burgs offering equal amounts of sunshine and serenity. Let’s face it, as you move north along the Pacific Coast Highway things start to get dicey. The sun fades in a cloak of persistent gray and a general gloom becomes the harbinger of the days ahead. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!  more...
Cardinal Instruments: One Direction

Cardinal Instruments: One Direction

TUCKED AWAY just east of I-35 in Austin, almost directly across the interstate from the campus of the University of Texas is a small housing community with its roots in the 1920s. Some of the houses have been converted to small businesses, be it a coffee house, small engine repair or something similar.  more...
Cilia Guitars: The Artist on Alfred Rd.

Cilia Guitars: The Artist on Alfred Rd.

CHARLES Cilia became obsessed with guitar in his early teens. By 18, he had moved to Sydney, joined a band and was playing in clubs and pubs. Cilia was working for NSW Agriculture in their entomology labs on scientific experiments during the day and then gigging at night with his band. Having tried to get his guitars set up by various so-called ‘luthiers’, only to have them come back no better or worse than they were in the first place, he became frustrated and decided to start setting up and adjusting his own guitars.  more...